Latest update: 11/1/2004; 4:40:10 AM
quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est ~ Seneca
~ This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xi kalendas novembres

  • 4004 B.C. -- 9.00 a.m. ... according to Bishop Ussher, God
    created the universe
  • 304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hermes at Adrianopolis

::Friday, October 22, 2004 5:50:57 AM::

~ APA Meeting Abstracts

A pile of abstracts have been posted for the 2005 APA meeting in Boston ... definitely looks like it will be a good one. Here's a trio that immediately caught my eye (I'll post a few more over the next few days as I work through them):

John BAUSCHATZ Diversity in Detention: Ptolemaic Prisons

Fanny DOLANSKY Religious Life on the Villa Rustica: Cultivating and Controlling the Rural Familia

Annalisa MARZANO  The Roman Triumph, Hercules and the Banquet to the People

::Friday, October 22, 2004 5:45:38 AM::

~ Classical Citations

Here's some in-passing refs to the ancient world which seem best gathered together as one entry ... the first is a piece from IOL on the Viagra-like effects of 'mad honey':

"Mad honey" was given its name by the first-century Roman historian Pliny, who also called it "the honey of miracles" for its supposed fit-making qualities. Pliny reported that the honey could not be sold in the Roman empire because it was poisonous.

According to legend, "mad honey" was once used as a weapon.

In 67, the army of Rome, under Pompey the Great, advanced against their eastern enemy, King Mithridates, and his allies, the Heptakometes.

Pompey's thousand-strong force entered a narrow pass in Trebizond, where they found jars of honey lining the road as a "tribute" to the conquering force.

They gorged themselves on the offering and fell sick with delirium and vomiting, and were thus easily slaughtered by the waiting Heptakometes.

From Stuff comes the now-familiar 'the Greeks found it, the Romans spread it around Europe' construction, this time in regards to asparagus:

It's been a beacon of spring since the time of the ancients. The Greeks, who gave it its name, ate only wild asparagus; the Romans cultivated it. The detailed growing instructions described by Cato the Elder in 200BC are largely the same as those in gardening books today. Asparagus went along with the Romans wherever they conquered and settled.

Last, but not least, the Mercury gives the Greeks credit for the concept of 'diplomatic immunity':

At the start of the movie Gladiator, a Roman general sends an envoy to whichever tribe of barbarians the Empire is fighting at the time, to offer peace terms.

The barbarians' response is eloquent if not elegant. Their envoy returns on horseback, stops some distance from the general and slings the bloody head of the Roman envoy at him. War ensues.

It was essentially to avoid this sort of unpleasant international incident that the concept of diplomatic immunity was created; to protect diplomats from punitive actions by their host country and so to enable them to fulfil their official duties without harassment.

The ancient Greeks are reputed to have introduced it first, but it has now evolved into formal international law, enshrined in the Vienna Convention of 1961.

::Friday, October 22, 2004 5:18:42 AM::

~ Greek (and Latin?) Threatened in Scotland?

This was passed along by an Explorator reader (thanks AM!) ... it looks like Scotland is about to go through the same overhaul/rationalization/whatever of its examination board system that that place a bit further south did ... a piece at the BBC also hints at what it threatened. Here's a concluding quote:

However, Brian Boyd, professor of education at the University of Strathclyde, was angry that no widespread consultation had been entered into.

Mr Boyd said: "The argument here is about a slippery slope, if you identify certain subjects as a being minority subjects, like Classical Greek or Politics for example, then tomorrow do we identify Latin, do we identify Urdu?

"There needs to be a more rational set of criteria that you apply than simply crude numbers and that's the kind of debate that we haven't had so far."

::Friday, October 22, 2004 5:07:26 AM::

~ Burials Near Olympia

Hopefully we'll get a few more details on this one ... from  AP (via Yahoo):

Archeologists have discovered ancient graves near Ancient Olympia, the hallowed site where the Olympic games were born in 776 B.C., the Culture Ministry said Thursday.

The 25 limestone graves date back to the Neolithic era roughly 4000 B.C. to 2000 B.C and were found during construction work about 200 miles southwest of Athens.

The ministry said each grave was used to bury at least three to five people but as many as 10 in one case. Also found inside the graves were amphorae or two-handled ceramic jars used for shipping and storing oil and wine and jewelry that were buried along with the dead.

"Bones have been preserved in excellent condition, along with grave offerings ... that will yield significant information about the society of this prehistoric settlement," a ministry statement said.

::Friday, October 22, 2004 5:02:11 AM::

~ Job: Generalist @ UWellington

The University invites applications for a Lectureship in Classics available from 1 February 2005 (or at an agreed later date).

Candidates should have particular interests in Latin language and literature, and especially in poetry. In addition, the ability to teach within the framework of an existing programme that includes both Classical languages and Classics in translation is essential. An interest in the development of interdisciplinary courses would also be an advantage.

The successful candidate will become part of a dynamic Programme, teaching at all levels, from introductory lectures to MA and PhD supervision. The Programme offers undergraduate majors in Greek, Latin and Classical Studies, together with postgraduate degrees. Nearly a thousand students enrol in classics courses each year.

Candidates should either have a completed PhD or be on the verge of completion, and have appropriate high-level skills in both classical languages. A clear research agenda is essential.

Applications should include a detailed covering letter, CV, letters of reference from three referees, and a completed Employment Declaration Form (available from Human Resources) and be sent to the Human Resource Advisers, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand (Telephone: 64 4 495 5236, Fax: 64 4 495 5209, email: The deadline for applications is 30 November 2004.  The salary scale for lecturers is NZ $50,335-$60,638 per annum.

In honouring the Treaty of Waitangi the University welcomes applicants from the Tangata Whenua.  We also welcome applications from women, Pacific Island peoples, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.

Further inquiries may be made to Dr Matthew Trundle, Classics, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand  (Telephone: +64 4 463 6785; e-mail:

.,. seen on the Classicists list

::Friday, October 22, 2004 4:54:09 AM::

~ Job: Generalist @ Ohio Wesleyan (tenure track)

The Department of Humanities and Classics invites applications for a wide-ranging Classics position. The applicants (Ph.D. in hand by 15 June 2005 and with teaching experience) should demonstrate both scholarly research activity in her/his ancient specialty and in comparative approaches across time and space. The approved position, for a tenure-track Assistant Professor, will commence August 2005. Candidates should have broad training in the ancient world and ability and enthusiasm for teaching both Latin and Greek language courses at all undergraduate levels. The appointment will share our commitment to the life and mission of the liberal arts college. Specialists in Latin studies are encouraged to apply; we will also consider candidates with Hellenist research interests. The new appointment's teaching responsibilities will include, depending on interests, some combination of the following Classical civilization courses: Folklore (mythology), Women in antiquity, Greek and Latin literatures in translation, Ancient novels in translation, Introductory Archaeology, and Humanities courses such as "Love and Sexuality."

Applicants should send (hard copies only) the following: letter of application, CV, dossier with three or more letters of evaluation, actual syllabuses and writing samples or publications. Send materials to: Donald Lateiner, Chair, Humanities-Classics, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware OH 43015. We may conduct initial interviews at the APA-AIA meetings, 6-9 January 2005.

Applications received by 30 November receive first consideration; deadline for receipt of all materials: 15 December 2004. Ohio Wesleyan is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer. We encourage minorities and women to apply.

... seen on the Classics list

::Friday, October 22, 2004 4:51:21 AM::

~ More Bulgarian Gold

What I don't understand is why the 'big' mainstream media (i.e. the BBC, the New York Times, etc.) has yet to catch on to and devote major coverage to this ongoing story ... more gold has been found in Bulgarian tombs. From Novitne:

About 400 pieces of gold applications have been found so far during the excavations at an Early Bronze Age village in Bulgaria, archeologists announced on Thursday.

Members of the expedition, organized by the National History Museum, admitted that each day some 10-15 new items have been discovered, including gold applications for clothing, beads, rings and many other objects, some of which with unclear purpose.

Archeologists believe they have found an ancient jewelry workshop, where exclusively fine pieces of highest quality were produced.

The gold pieces, found in an area of about 50 sq m, are dated to the end of 4000 - the beginning of 3000 BC, which means that they are about 3,000 years older than the Thracian gold treasures recently unearthed by the team of Dr Georgi Kitov near Kazanlak.

The exact site of excavations, headed by Prof Dr Vassil Nikolov, will be kept in secret till the end of the expedition.

Only few gold jewels of this kind have been found in Bulgaria so far.

::Friday, October 22, 2004 4:49:42 AM::

~ Icarus' Pollsters

I was sent a few copies of this one yesterday ...  a rather good Non Sequitur comic. Enjoy!

::Friday, October 22, 2004 4:45:29 AM::

~ AWOTV: On TV Today

4.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Roman Empire in North Africa

7.00 p.m. |HINT|  Hercules: Power of the Gods
Story of how the mighty son of Zeus became one of the most enduring legends of Greek mythology. Includes the saga of the 12 labors of Hercules, which included battles with the awful 9-headed Hydra serpent and the Ceryneian stag with golden horns.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU|  Decisive Battles: Herman the German
Teutoburg Forest, 9 AD. According to the Roman historian Dio, Arminius (aka Herman), Chief of the Cherusci, and his father Segemerus, ambushed and wiped out three legions led by Quinctilius Varus. Not a good day to be out in the woods of Germany if you were a Roman. Strung out and unprepared for battle, the Romans were lulled into a false sense of security and led into the middle of a dense forest and ambushed in the heavy rain. The slaughter--which was total--lasted for three days in a mountain range in the northwest of Germany, and left the Emperor Augustus lusting for revenge and return of his legions' eagle standards.

10.00 p.m. |DTC| Vesuvius: Deadly Fury
In 79 AD, eruptions from Mount Vesuvius buried the city of Pompeii. A burning wave of gas shot out from the side of Vesuvius killing the inhabitants of neighboring Herculaneum in just four minutes. Archaeologists look to these bodies for historical clues.

Channel Guide

::Friday, October 22, 2004 4:32:04 AM::

1. n. an abnormal state or condition resulting from the forced migration from a lengthy Classical education into a profoundly unClassical world; 2. n. a blog about Ancient Greece and Rome compiled by one so afflicted (v. "rogueclassicist"); 3. n. a Classics blog.

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